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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on August 17, 2021

2021-08-17

CCTV: The study outline on Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy was released yesterday. Do you have more on that?

Hua Chunying: The outline for studying Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy compiled by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was published yesterday. The book is a comprehensive reflection of the original contribution of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the diplomatic field. It gives systemic elaboration on the historical background, profound connotation, theoretical undertone and brilliant practice of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, and provides an authoritative reading material to help officials and the public to study and implement Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made a series of major innovations in both theories and practice in China's diplomacy, with a deep understanding of the development trend of China and the world in the new era. In this course, Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is formed. Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy is an important component of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, a major theoretical achievement in applying the basic tenets of Marxism to the practice of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics, a reflection of the governance philosophy the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core on the diplomatic front, and a fundamental guidance for China's external work in the new era.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee and the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China's diplomacy has held high the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation, firmly safeguarded China's sovereignty, security and development interests, actively expanded the comprehensive diplomatic agenda, promoted high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, pioneered the reform of the global governance system, and promoted the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China's diplomacy has made a series of brilliant achievements. It has not only upheld the fine diplomatic tradition of new China, but also demonstrated the new demeanor of a major country, embodied the new feature of the times and showcased China's responsibility for world peace and development as a major country.

The world today is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and has entered a period of turbulence and transformation. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for the new era will continue to fulfill its responsibility for national rejuvenation and human progress, make new and greater contributions to realizing the second centenary goal and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and promoting world peace and development.

Xinhua News Agency: Recently, the Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies, the Integrated Development Studies Institute (IDSI) and the Global Talk News Radio (GTNR) jointly launched an online petition calling on the WHO to probe the Fort Detrick bio-labs in the US. Many political and academic elites in the Philippines said that Fort Detrick is shrouded in suspicion and that shifting the blames onto China and stigmatizing China is the only way out of the US failure in fighting COVID-19 for the Biden administration. Some netizens in the Philippines said that the US is scapegoating the Wuhan lab to divert people's attention from Fort Detrick. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: The masses have sharp eyes. Multiple Philippine institutions initiated an online petition recently calling on the WHO to launch a probe into the Fort Detrick bio-labs. It has received much attention.

This petition is mainly initiated by Herman Laurel, a famous political commentator and founder of the Philippine-BRICS Strategic Studies. Laurel said that Fort Detrick was closed for security reasons in August 2019, after which a mysterious EVALI outbreak occurred in the US. There are signs showing that the lab is very dangerous. Ado Paglinawan, former press attache at Philippine embassy in the US, released a book entitled "No Vaccine for a Virus Called Racism" on the same day of the launch of the petition. In the book, Paglinawan sorted out the timeline of the COVID-19 outbreak in the US and made the judgement that the disease started in June 2019 in the US and later spread across the world. It's worth mentioning that Paglinawan pointed out that the 1918 flu pandemic, dubbed the "Spanish Flu", actually originated in Fort Riley, Kansas in the US and was spread by the US Army onto Europe. He wrote that the US politicization of COVID-19 origins tracing is repeating the history of the "Spanish Flu".

There are more and more clues pointing the origins of the novel coronavirus to the US. Media and experts from the US, Russia, the ROK, Japan and other countries have called for a probe into Fort Detrick for the origins tracing. However, on the one hand, the US has turned a deaf ear to the doubts and call of the international community and tried to shut out all these and dodge the issue. On the other hand, it has resorted to political manipulation, fabricating lies and distorting facts, and sparing no effort to smear and malign China.

China once again calls on the US side to respond positively to the international community's doubts as soon as possible, release and review early case data, invite WHO experts to investigate Fort Detrick, its more than 200 biological laboratories overseas and the University of North Carolina, and release the data concerning the sickened American military athletes who attended the World Military Games in Wuhan. The US should give the world a clear explanation and help solve the mystery of the virus as soon as possible.

The Paper: We noted that China has good relations with the Afghan Taliban and other factions. Could you offer more details about China's role in promoting peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan?

Hua Chunying: As Afghanistan's largest neighbor, China has always respected Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, adhered to non-interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs and pursued a friendly policy toward the entire Afghan people.

China has all along maintained contact and communication with the Afghan Taliban on the basis of fully respecting Afghanistan's sovereignty and the will of all factions in the country, and played a constructive role in promoting the political settlement of the Afghan issue.

In the past few months alone, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted the second China+Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers' meeting, the fourth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue, attended the foreign ministers' meeting of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group, and engaged in close communication and interactions with important stakeholders on the Afghan issue including Russia, Pakistan, the United States, the Central Asian countries, the European Union, Iran, Turkey, etc., and put forward China's proposal for achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date.

On July 28, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the visiting delegation led by head of the Afghan Taliban political committee Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Tianjin. He expressed the hope that the Afghan Taliban will put the interests of the country and nation first, hold high the banner of peace talks, set the goal of peace, build a positive image and pursue an inclusive policy. All factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan should form solidarity, truly implement the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" principle, push for early substantive results in the peace and reconciliation process, and independently establish a broad-based and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan's national realities. In recent days, Yue Xiaoyong, the Special Envoy of the Chinese government on the Afghan issue, has shuttled intensively between Afghanistan, Russia, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Iran.

China continues to maintain communication with all parties after major changes took place in Afghanistan in recent days. Last night, State Councilor Wang Yi had telephone conversations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Blinken upon invitation. The Chinese side also participated in the UNSC emergency meeting on Afghanistan. China encourages the Afghan Taliban to pursue a moderate and prudent religious policy, work with other parties to form an open and inclusive political structure, pursue a foreign policy of peace and friendship, and in particular, live in harmony with its neighboring countries and achieve reconstruction and development in Afghanistan. We also hope that the new Afghan regime will make a clean break with all kinds of international terrorist forces, restrain and combat terrorist forces including the ETIM, and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a gathering place of terrorist and extremist forces again.

China will continue to maintain close communication and coordination with all relevant parties to push for an end to the war and lasting peace in Afghanistan at an early date.

China News Service: On August 16, over 60 countries including the US, the UK, Australia, Japan and the ROK issued a joint statement on Afghanistan, which says that given the deteriorating security situation, foreign nationals and Afghans who wish to leave the country should be allowed to do so; roads, airports and border crossing must remain open; those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility-and accountability-for the protection of human life and property. Will China also endorse this joint statement?

Hua Chunying: China has noted this statement. The situation in Afghanistan has undergone major changes in recent days. Some countries are evacuating their embassy personnel and citizens in Afghanistan. Some Afghan people are also planning to leave the country. We hope relevant parties will take effective measures to ensure security and stability in Afghanistan, maintain public security and order, protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the Afghan people and foreign citizens in Afghanistan, facilitate the evacuation of relevant personnel, and advance the relevant work in a safe and orderly manner. In particular, efforts should be made to prevent casualties. China has also noted that the Afghan Taliban said it would take responsible actions to ensure the safety of Afghan citizens and foreign missions in Afghanistan.

Bloomberg: Has China discussed the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement issue with the Afghan Taliban? Will China require that the Taliban disavow the ETIM in order to be recognized by Beijing as Afghanistan's government?

Hua Chunying: The ETIM is an international terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council, which poses a direct threat to the security of China and its people. Combating the ETIM is the common responsibility of the international community. China once cooperated with the Afghan government in the fight against the ETIM, and now the head of the Afghan Taliban has made it clear to China that no force will be allowed to use the Afghan territory to do anything harmful to China. We hope that the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with all terrorist organizations, including the ETIM, and resolutely and firmly crack down on the ETIM so as to remove obstacles to regional security, stability, development and cooperation.

CGTN: The international public opinion in the recent two days has been focusing on the current Afghan situation and the US responsibility in it. US President Joe Biden said in his remarks that the decision to end the 20-year Afghan War is the "right one for America", and that the US mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. The US media widely share the opinion that the US policy on Afghanistan is a complete failure. The CNN, for example, compared the withdrawal of US troops from Kabul to a new "Saigon moment". The New York Times said the situation "may strike another blow to US credibility" among US allies. What is your comment?

Hua Chunying: I have noticed the world pays great attention to the current situation in Afghanistan and the US responsibility in this regard. Whether the US policy on Afghanistan has failed, and whether US allies would find the country unreliable, I believe the US and relevant countries will do their own thinking and come to conclusions.

But to be honest, people have been shocked by the chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport on television and the internet since yesterday, especially the video clips capturing some unfortunately falling to their deaths after clinging to the landing gear of a US aircraft to evacuate.

The US launched the Afghan War in the name of counterterrorism. But has the US won? After 20 years, the number of terrorist organizations in Afghanistan has grown to more than 20 from a single digit. Has the US brought peace to the Afghan people? For 20 years, more than 100,000 Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded in the gunfire of US troops and its ally forces, and more than 10 million people have been displaced. The Afghan War caused an average loss of $60 million on a daily basis, putting a drag on the socioeconomic development of Afghanistan. The US troops have also paid the price of more than 2,400 deaths and over two trillion dollars.

I also noticed that President Biden said, the US mission in Afghanistan was never supposed to have been nation building. This is the truth. Wherever the US sets foot, be it Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan, we see turbulence, division, broken families, deaths and other scars in the mess it has left. The US power and role is destructive rather than constructive. As State Councilor Wang Yi stressed in his phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last night, facts have proved again that military intervention and power politics win no support and are doomed to fail. A model copied from another country can hardly fit or stand in a country with distinctively different history, culture and national conditions. Solving problems with power and military means would only lead to even more problems.

I also noticed President Biden said in his remarks that he will not repeat the mistake of doubling down on a civil war in a foreign country, or attempting to remake a country through the endless military deployments of US forces. We hope the US could seriously reflect on its willful military intervention and belligerent policy, stop using democracy and human rights as an excuse to arbitrarily interfere in other countries' internal affairs and undermine peace and stability in other countries and regions.

CCTV: Today marks the 39th anniversary of the August 17 Communiqué between China and the US. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: There is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. It was on the basis of the one-China principle that China and the US established diplomatic ties 42 years ago. On this day 39 years ago, China and the US jointly issued the August 17 Communiqué. The US side pledged that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution. The August 17 Communiqué, the Shanghai Communiqué and the China-US Joint Communiqué constitute the political foundation of China-US relations, and their core essence is the one-China principle, which the US side should strictly abide by.

But what we see is the fact that the US side has kept breaching its own commitment. It has engaged in official exchanges with the Taiwan region, sold arms to Taiwan and helped it to expand the so-called international space. Let's take US arms sales to Taiwan as an example. Over the past 39 years, the total amount of arms sales to Taiwan by successive US administrations has hit as high as nearly $70 billion. The Trump administration alone has sold arms to Taiwan 11 times in four years, totaling $18.3 billion. Not long ago, the Biden administration announced its first arms sale deal to Taiwan, approving a $750 million weapons sale to Taiwan. In response to all the wrong moves on the US side, the Chinese side has made strong and resolute reactions to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests.

To solve the Taiwan question and realize the complete reunification of the motherland is the common aspiration of all the Chinese people. We are ready to make every effort with the utmost sincerity to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification. At the same time, we reserve the option of taking all necessary measures in response to the interference of external forces and the very small number of "Taiwan independence" separatists and their activities. No one should mistakenly underestimate the strong determination, firm will and strong capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. No matter how many weapons the US provides to Taiwan, it cannot change the overriding trend of cross-Strait relations, still less stop the process of China's reunification.

A person without faith cannot establish himself or herself; a country without credibility will decline. China urges the US to fully recognize the highly sensitive nature and serious harm of its arms sales to Taiwan, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, stop official contacts and military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan, oppose the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces and their activities, so as to avoid causing further serious damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Bloomberg: Just on the topic of the virus. When did China learn of research published in June that documented the flourishing wildlife trade in Wuhan? And as a corollary to that question, what has China done since investigating what happened to these animals, the farms they were raised on, the traders and transporters moving them around and the vendors selling them? Have they been interviewed, tested for antibodies and their businesses thoroughly examined for potentially infected animals?

Hua Chunying: I'm not aware of what you're talking about. But I do have a question for you: The Chinese people and government have been saying that the origins study should be carried out in multiple places around the world and there are many suspicions on the US. How is Bloomberg doing in terms of the coverage on these issues? Focusing on only China while turning a blind eye to the call of the world's people and their suspicions on the US goes against the principle of objective and fair media coverage.

On China's fight against COVID-19, the Chinese government already issued a white paper in which there is a clear timeline of our response. If you are interested, I would like to give you a copy of the detailed material and go through it with you after the briefing. I hope you can join us in urging the US side to take the right and rational attitude and support the WHO in conducting the origins tracing in multiple places around the world. The imperative for the US is to open its Fort Detrick and North Carolina bio-labs and the 200-plus ones overseas. This will help with the origins tracing work and lead to a more united and effective global response to similar public health crises in the future.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda said recently that the country is committed to defend its democratic principles and values. He said, "as a sovereign and independent country, Lithuania is free to decide which countries or territories it develops economic and cultural relations with". What is China's comment?

Hua Chunying: I have read relevant reports. The Lithuanian President said it would defend its own values and interests. If Lithuania can do that, China certainly should and can defend its own interests more firmly, especially the core interests concerning territory and sovereignty. It must be pointed out that the Lithuanian side tries to distort concepts and disguise its challenge against the one-China principle as the so-called defence of "principles and values" to quibble for its development of relations in essence with Taiwan authorities. Such an attempt can only fool themselves. The meaning of the one-China principle is clear and brooks no distortion and misrepresentation. Supporting the one-China policy means strict compliance with the one-China principle, including severing official exchanges in both flagrant and secret ways with Taiwan authorities.

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